On Monday, we talked about how to know if someone was right woman for you. This week, I want to expand on that; after all, it’s all just a theoretical exercise unless you’re actually able to meet her. And I get a lot of questions from people about “where to meet women”. And while I’ve covered this many times, it’s important to realize that sometimes this isn’t the question you need to be asking. After all, women are literally everywhere. Go outside, look around, there they are.
But – and obviously, there was a but coming – there’s meeting women and meeting the right woman. And many times, guys are doing it wrong, making the process of meeting compatible women harder than it needs to be.
If you want to find the right woman, then you have to know how to do it.
Maximize Your Opportunities
The first part of trying to find the right woman for you is to quit leaving it up to fate. We tend to focus on one single way of meeting women and ignore the others. Too many guys make one or two token efforts to expand their search – taking a class, for example or going to a MeetUp event – and not having immediate success, assume that the whole thing was a waste of time. They go right back to the old ways (ways that obviously weren’t working) because they’re comfortable. They’re familiar. The problem is that sticking strictly with the comfortable and familiar makes finding someone harder.
Putting all of your metaphorical eggs in one basket narrows your options. It’s an incredibly inefficient way of trying to meet someone because you’re ignoring all of these other venues that people use to find relationships. Finding someone you’re attracted to, who is going to be attracted to you and who you’re compatible with is always going to be something of a crap-shoot. There’s always going to be a fair amount of luck involved, ranging simply from being online (or in the Barnes and Noble or wherever) at the same time they are, to both of you being in a position to actually have a relationship and so forth. But you can make your own luck. Do you want to increase the odds that you’re going to find the right woman for you? Then you want to increase the number of ways you’re looking for them.
This means you need to be willing to diversify the ways you’re trying to meet women. Online dating is the obvious option – usually the first people try – but frequently it’s also the last one.
I get that online dating is simple and feels safe, but not everyone is on OKCupid (yet), and some areas can have fewer online dating prospects than others. This is why you need to use all the resources available to you, by expanding your repertoire. So yes, you should be practicing your cold-approach; learning how to befriend and charm strangers is a valuable skill-set to have and will serve you well under many circumstances. You should also start being active in your community – taking those classes, going to those meet-ups, even if they’re not “target rich environments”1 See, even if that conversational Spanish class you’re attending is one giant sausage party, these are still potential new friends, and new friends have other friends they can introduce you to. You want to network – getting to know them gets you access to their social circles, and that circle of friends can introduce you to even more people.
Never underestimate the value of a friend-of-a-friend. The more people you meet and interact with, the more opportunities you have to meet awesome women.
Speaking of maximizing your opportunities…
To Find The Right Woman, Go Where The Women Are
Pardon an incredibly awkward metaphor, but part of finding the right woman means thinking like a hunter. A hunter doesn’t just stomp around the woods hoping to just stumble upon his prey. He thinks like they do. Where are they most likely to congregate? What are they going to feed? Where are they going to drink? He studies his prey, scouts the most likely locations and stakes them out.
If you want to find a particular kind of woman, you have to know where they go and go there. You can just hope to cast about randomly and pray you get lucky, or you can go and actually take part in their world. If you want to date club girls, you have to be part of club culture. If you want to date nerds, you have to be an active part of the nerd community and be where the nerds tend to congregate. And I mean it about being part of their world – as I’ve said before, we’re attracted to people who are similar to us. Being part of the same community and showing that you’re comfortable in it is one very significant way of demonstrating similar values and interests.
This, incidentally, is why I’m always telling men that one of the best ways to find amazing women is to get move involved in their hobbies and interests. Finding ways to indulge in your passions in a social setting helps naturally bring incredible women into your life, with the knowledge that you already share commonalities.
It’s also worth noting that trying to be part of their world will also act as a natural filter to help sort out the women who aren’t right for you. Trying to take part in their lifestyle can be an early warning that no, you’re not compatible after all. If being in their world makes you uncomfortable or runs completely against your personality, then it’s a hint that the two of you aren’t likely to work out. In fact, speaking of that:
Use Qualifications To Screen For What You Want
If you want to find the right woman, you want to do your due diligence. As many an online dater has discovered, the person who seems a match on paper can often turn out to be completely wrong in person. You want to date someone who’s awesome and has specific qualities that you find attractive? Then you’re going to want to learn how to filter out the ones who don’t match and encourage the ones who do. And one of the best ways to do this is through what’s known as “qualification”.
Qualification is a way of having the other person explain why we should like them by subtly asking them to bring up their good parts. It’s a powerful technique that helps build rapport between individuals; first, it encourages the other person to talk about themselves (which triggers the pleasure centers of their brain) and then we validate them for sharing what they just told us. We instinctively like people who like us, so when somebody agrees with us that yes, $TRAIT makes us cool, we feel more positively inclined towards them. This takes advantage of the Reward Theory of Attraction: we prioritize relationships with people who make us feel good.
The thing about qualification is that it’s a way of screening for the qualities you’re looking for without sounding like you’re reading off a checklist. It’s a very simple way of working leading questions into conversation without sounding like you’re trying to interrogate them. They’re simply “getting to know you” questions delivered in the right way. If you’re looking for somebody who’s free-spirited or sexually progressive, you may ask “what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?” If you’re screening for geeky interests, you might ask about her favorite TV show. Asking relationship questions like “Are you usually the dumper or the dumpee” or “have you ever had your heart broken” can reveal a lot about her beliefs and feelings about dating. Even the classic “what do you have going for you in your life” can help encourage her to talk about herself and let you look for your desired attributes.
When she reveals aspects of herself that you like and match the qualities you’re looking for, you validate her – saying “oh, me too!” or “that’s so cool!”. It increases the feeling that you have a lot in common – an important factor in attraction.
But while we’re talking about what you’re looking for in women…
Have Realistic Expectations
“Rich she shall be, that’s certain; wise, or I’ll none; virtuous, or I’ll never cheapen her; fair, or I’ll ever look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what color it please God.”
-Much Ado About Nothing, Act II Scene 2
One of the most common sticking points I’ve seen in men is the tendency to want too much. We’re taught that we should want supermodel girlfriends who also love cigars and whiskey and strip-clubs and who fuck like porn-stars but also cook like Giada DeLaurentiis and Rachel Ray had a love child that they gave to Alton Brown to raise in secret until she came of age… and then we are told to never give up on those dreams because we deserve it, damn it!
The problem is, the longer the list of must-haves you’re holding onto, the fewer the number of women you’re going to be considering as potential partners. It’s one thing to want to date someone who’s nerdy (or at least nerd-curious), but women who are nerdy, model gorgeous, into threesomes, love playing video games and appreciate craft beers and are also single, are going to be thin on the ground. A long list of requirements – not “it would be nice if” but “she must absolutely be” can quickly become a list of why you’re still single. The problem with holding out for perfection is that you’re not going to find it. And worse, it gives you tunnel vision. When you’re convinced that the right woman for you is this laundry list of requirements, you’re frequently missing out on amazing, compatible women because you’re holding out for the dream. And there is no settling down without settling for, no matter who you are. Nobody gets 100%; you get the 60 or 70 or even 80% and you round it up to 100 because what you do get is so very worth it.
But even if you’re not necessarily looking for the moon and the stars, unrealistic expectations can still sabotage your search. One thing people rarely stop to consider when they’re putting their list of “what I want in a woman” together is whether or not those qualities are compatible with their own lives… or whether they’re even internally contradictory. After all, if you’re looking for someone who’s ambitious, driven, career oriented and free-spirited and spontaneous and has plenty of time to date, you’re going to be looking for a long, long time.
The idea that lowering your expectations is a tacit admission that you’re a loser or punching above your weight class often ends up holding you back. It’s not about admitting you’re a failure, it’s about recognizing that sometimes what you’re looking for is impossible and blinding you to the amazing relationships you could be having.
Finding The Right Woman Is A Numbers Game
Something to keep in mind is that dating is at its core a numbers game. Not in the sense that the more people you ask out, eventually one is likely to say yes, but in finding the right person. The odds that the person you’re flirting with is compatible with you and long-term relationship material are relatively low. This has nothing to do with who you are as a person or who she is and everything to do with a multitude of factors you can’t possibly hope to account for. It’s entirely possible to meet the right woman at the wrong time in your lives – or to be in the right emotional place for dating but end up with the wrong woman. This, unfortunately, is just part of how dating works; to quote fellow advice columnist and NerdLove Celebrity Patronus Dan Savage: every relationship fails until one doesn’t.
There will be false positives and false starts. You will meet women who you think may be the One2 , only to learn that what you think you want isn’t what you need at all. You may meet someone who’s the right woman for you for now but then you both grow and change and you’ll realize that it’s time to move on.
You will have to do a lot of looking. It will be hard. It will be discouraging. It’ll be frustrating.
But when you meet the right woman – and you will – you’ll realize that it will be worth it.